HSE given order allowing it to try and save life of woman with eating disorder

Medics say her life is at risk and she lacks insight and capacity to fully understand what is happening


The High Court has made orders allowing the Health Service Executive to take steps aimed at saving the life of a severely ill woman with an eating disorder.

The court heard the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has suffered from various illnesses since childhood and is currently being treated for Anorexia nervosa in a hospital.

She is described as being currently very underweight with a dangerously low Body Mass Index.

Those treating say that her life is at risk and that she lacks insight and capacity to fully understand what is happening to her or how ill she really is.

Her doctor’s fears have been heightened because of efforts she has been making to try and leave the hospital, where she needs to be.

As a result, the HSE, represented in court by Patricia Hill Bl, began High Court proceedings allowing it to detain the woman in the hospital and apply treatments that her physicians believe are necessary to save her life.

The orders allow doctors to apply treatments they believe she requires including provide her with nourishment and fluids by nasal gastric tube and through intravenous lines.

Other orders include granting gardaí the power to return her to the hospital she is being treated at if she should leave, counsel said.

Counsel also said that the woman requires complete bed rest and constant monitoring.

The orders were granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Michael Twomey at the High Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The court also heard that there will be an application made to make the woman a ward of court.

After granting the orders sought by the HSE Mr Justice Twomey appointed a guardian at litem and directed that an independent medical visitor assess her.

The case will return before the court later this week.